It’s been a little while since I wrote on this blog. I think about it often, but I’ve been doing some reflection on my purpose in writing, and what exactly I want to achieve, or contribute, through this medium.
Did you hear about Joshua Harris, author of the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye (1997) which was hugely popular in Protestant circles and had a huge influence on the chastity movement? He wrote the book when he was very young, and recently made a public apology for what he recognised as quite damaging rhetoric that was found in the book. He specifically highlighted that when he wrote it, he had very little experience of romantic relationships, and was not in a position to be a voice of authority on the topic.
Now, as of this moment, I am not being offered any major book publishing deals, so I don’t think there is too much risk of that! But it has made me think about my ‘authority’ to write about marriage to someone who doesn’t share my faith. I haven’t been married long at all, and I am certain that I have a lot of growth and learning to do, in all aspects of marriage, and especially in living out my faith fully whilst having a successful marriage.
Furthermore, I am still early in my spiritual journey. I certainly have no voice of authority when it comes to matters of faith!
I am definitely still planning to use this blog, to keep writing about the same topics and sharing my experiences, but I want to be more careful and reflective about how I convey my message. I can tell you what is working or not working in *my* marriage and family life, but I can’t tell you what will work in yours. Of course, no one can – but someone who has been married for longer than I may be better qualified!
In any case, I am grateful for the people who do read this blog, and leave encouraging feedback. I try to remind myself that if my writing helps just one person, it is worthwhile.
For a while, I was afraid that I was the only person experiencing the struggles that come with not sharing my faith with my spouse. It was a lonely place to be – I assumed that my non-believing friends and family would be unable to understand why it’s a problem, and my fellow Catholics would wag their fingers disapprovingly and tell me it’s my own fault for getting myself into this situation. I even felt like God would be mad at me, disappointed that I didn’t wait a bit longer or try a bit harder to find a spouse who thought Just Like Me.
Gradually, I began to connect with other women in my situation. A friend engaged to a Muslim man; someone discerning her future with a non-practicing Catholic; many who converted after marrying Protestants or atheists. We each face unique struggles, but share a common experience: we want to live our Catholic beliefs faithfully and fruitfully. That is to say, we want to stay true to the beliefs and teachings of the Church, and also for our faith to bear real, tangible fruit in our lives and the lives of those around us. We don’t want the fact that our beliefs are not shared by our spouses to inhibit our own practice and love of the Faith.
Yet sometimes, that seems easier said than done. Jesus, through the Church and the Bible, made it clear that He not only wants us to live our faith in community, but that it is necessary for our growth as Christians. Whilst some of us may have church communities or friends who share our faith, I sensed a need for community among women who share the cross of a marriage which is not united by faith. That is what I hope this will be.
I hope that this will be a space for encouragement, counsel and prayer. I hope that women are able to connect with others who understand their circumstances. Above all, I hope that this will become a community that brings the hope needed to cling to the Truth AND stay true to our marriages, even when it isn’t easy.